Families Affected By Autism Celebrate New Law Extending Health Insurance Coverage

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Autism insurance is now a reality in California.

Governor Jerry Brown has signed into a law a bill that will require health insurance companies in the state to cover treatment for autism and other severe behavioral disorders.

Families affected by autism say the bill will change their lives. Now insurance companies will have to provide the therapy children with autism need to function in school.

“The struggle that we had in getting the same therapy for our daughter was that nobody wanted to cover it,” said Corey Harris, a SoCal resident who has a son and daughter diagnosed with autism.

“Kyle is not receiving that therapy because he didn’t get it at the early intervention stage,” said Harris’s wife, Shamika.

The family could not afford the therapy for either of their children and found themselves unable to enroll their children in school.

“We home-schooled so neither of us work — and we can’t afford it.”

Until now, most health providers have offered limited, if any, coverage for some of the more serious behavioral problems– including autism. Treatment is often cost-prohibitive for many families.

“Thousands of kids are going to get the help they need to lead better lives,” said Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D), California, at a rally Sunday in Sacramento, celebrating the signing of the autism bill.

The bill will take effect in July 2012.


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